Who got the Gotcha glory?


YoungSeo Jo

After five tense days of competition, the winner of the 2019 Gotcha game is senior Jaskiran Pental. She snagged seven pins.

Gotcha, a 16 year old school tradition, is a tag style competitive game that any member of the Upper School community can play.

Jake Guadnola, Director of Upper School for Girls, was involved in the birth of Gotcha. According to Guadnola, he suggested Gotcha as a rally point for the community to come together, while giving the students a chance to be distracted from their academics and have fun.

It was inspired from the popular college game Assassins, a similar game to Gotcha that sometimes goes on for months. Annie Wright’s own version of Gotcha initially started with squirt guns but this spurred intense debate about whether or not someone was actually eliminated. After that, clothespins were introduced and it has remained that way since.

The yearly tradition was paused last year due to some students becoming overly competitive. While Guadnola confirmed that nobody was seriously injured during the game, it was paused because it seemed unjustifiable to parents that students could get injured during the game. On this, Guadnola commented, “I think it only takes coming to watch a round or two of Gotcha to really understand just how competitive human beings can be.”

Guadnola and Annie Green, Upper School Dean of students, decided to bring back Gotcha this year with a set of strictly monitored rules. Guadnola expressed how he was impressed with the student body for being safe this year.

The rules of Gotcha are as follows:

  1. Players (which includes both faculty and students) have clothespins attached to the back of their shirts. Each clothespin has the name of your victim.
  2. You have to snatch the clothespin of your victim, who is also chasing their own victim.
  3. If you successfully pick the clothespin off of your victim, you now hunt their victim.  

Junior Natalie Fah dislikes the game: “Personally, I think it’s a game that involves reckless situations. It’s too competitive and it can hurt people at times…It’s also a huge distraction because people are always asking about it and going to classes trying not to get tagged, literally crawling, and people are all so paranoid. I don’t like seeing people like that.”

However, this year a new system is in place to prevent a somewhat violent aggression that paused the tradition last year. Whoever is too aggressive will be disqualified and made to wear the dress uniform the next day. Additionally, the player will be forced to carry a sign that confessed, “I did (blank) during gotcha.”

Annie Green, Dean of students, hopes that this new rule will help reinforce the expectations, albeit comically, for a safe Gotcha game. No one had to carry a sign.

Some highlights of this year’s game include:

The unexpected freshman Mone Shimogawara eliminated senior track star Anna Haddad one hour before the end of the game. Sophomore Maya Garcia eliminated Head of Schools Christian Sullivan. Other mentionable players include senior Holly Shadko (five pins) and senior Ali MacCord (seven pins).